Wednesday, June 29 2016

BBC Trust to review 'impartiality'

Following the BBC Trust review on the corporation's coverage of the Arab Spring, the Guardian today reports on the appointment of Stuart Prebble to oversee the review on impartiality.

From the Guardian:

"Former ITV chief executive and Grumpy Old Men producer Stuart Prebble is to lead an independent review of the BBC's impartiality, commissioned by the BBC Trust.

"Prebble's review will be a follow-up to John Bridcut's 2007 report, From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel, which set out 12 "guiding principles" to help ensure against biased reporting.


"The Bridcut report said technological and social change meant the spread of opinion went beyond traditional concepts of left and right, but warned that impartiality did not mean insipid programme making.

"Prebble will investigate how Bridcut's recommendations have been implemented, and how the BBC's understanding of "breadth of voice" has developed.

'It is the fifth impartiality review by the BBC Trust, having previously looked at subjects such as the way it covers business, also published in 2007, coverage of the UK nations, science and the Arab spring.

"Prebble – who left ITV in 2002 to set up production company Liberty Bell, which produces Grumpy Old Men, and is now a director of Storyvault Films – said: "I am delighted to have been invited to lead this important study for the BBC.

"Having spent most of my career outside the BBC, I look forward to bringing a fresh perspective to examine how well the commitment to breadth of voice – which is unique to the BBC – is being met."

"The review's terms of reference will be published in the autumn, and the review is expected to be concluded in the summer of 2013.

"Alison Hastings, chair of the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee, said: "John Bridcut's 2007 report set a new standard for achieving impartiality – likening it to a 'wagon wheel' of opinions rather than the traditional 'see-saw' of left versus right.

"Five years on, it's the right time to check up on the BBC's progress. Stuart Prebble's distinguished career in broadcasting, both as a programme-maker and as a CEO, puts him in an ideal position to take an informed view on how the BBC has responded to Bridcut's challenge."

The issue of the BBC's upholding standards on impartiality and accuracy has been the subject of deliberation by the Lords' communications committee which in a report published last year argued in favour of the extension of Ofcom's remit to cover the BBC.

The report stated: “We do not believe that the Trust’s continued commitment would be undermined or diluted if the BBC was no longer its own judge and jury on impartiality and accuracy”.

It report recommended that ''The BBC Trust and Ofcom [should] work together to resolve issues of impartiality and accuracy so that the BBC is no longer its own judge and jury.''


Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 16:31

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